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Giving a voice to fatherhood: new Dads Group podcast hits the airwaves

Dads Group has launched a new podcast to amplify conversations made in its Digital Dads meetups, as well as to hear from leaders in the fathering field.

The first episode released on August 4 features an interview with CEO Thomas Docking, who talks about the genesis of Dads Group seven years ago and his own experience with having children and starting Man with a Pram.

“Everyone has their own fears in that new fatherhood space,” he begins. “Everyone has their own concerns, whether it’s about their relationship or finances.

“We all share those common elements of concern. For me, you just want to have that safe space where you can listen to someone.”

Thomas said his organisation researched what was needed for fathers, and why community spaces for dads had not gained traction in the past.

“Healthy role models for dads don’t happen without catalysing them,” he said.

“It’s no different to any other model of care, it requires intentional support, funding and resources.”

Docking looked at existing supports for dads, how average dads feel, and whether they were even allowed to have feelings about being new fathers or have those feelings validated.

The questions he asked led him down a path of integration and working out where and how he could plug the gaps in the healthcare system that served new dads ... or failed to. 

“It’s been rewarding to see that there is a great need”, says Tom, whose work was supported by ‘experts’ and academics working with dads, such as the research network affiliated with the Australian Research Fatherhood Consortium.

Future instalments of the Dads Group Podcast will take a deep dive into fathering with men’s health leaders, examining the future of fatherhood and the needs of new and expecting fathers.

Initial episodes have featured interviews with the the CEO of Healthy Male, Simon von Saldern, and the CEO of Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia PANDA, Julie Borninkhof, as well as a chat with Dads Group leader Nic Bonastre. This week they will talk to Associate Professor Richard Fletcher, author of The Dad Factor: How the Father-Baby Bond Helps a Child for Life (Finch 2011). Richard is the driving force behind SMS4dads and Stayin' on Track for Aboriginal fathers.

View all Dads Group episodes

Man With A Pram

The Dads Group podcast is a key Father’s Day 2022 initiative for Tom Docking’s organisation, the centrepiece of which is the annual Man With A Pram that takes place on September 4 across Australia.

Man With A Pram asks mums, dads, kids, and partners to show support for dads everywhere by joining a local Man With A Pram walk or by registering to be a host. The fundraiser drives awareness and funds towards perinatal mental health programs and research.

“Research shows that positive strength-based paternal programs delivered in the early years can reduce the risk factors of mental ill health, family violence and suicide,” says Dads Group.

“Man With A Pram and Dads Group’s network of amazing partners are bringing about this change to build better stronger healthier communities that genuinely engage and support new dads and their families.”

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